Dissertation Information for Francesca Marini
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Sources and methodology of theater research in the view of scholars and information professionals
Abstract: In this study I want to call attention to the research methodology of theater scholars in order to point out its interplay with sources, information institutions, and information professionals. This study aims to give a new contribution to the field of information studies: The unique characteristics of theater research make it a very fertile object of investigation, because theatrical information is very dynamic and complex and presents physical and temporal characteristics that have, so far, been mostly ignored by information seeking research. Through forty-one, in-person, open-ended qualitative interviews with theater scholars and information professionals, conducted in Italy, the United States, France and Belgium, I gathered a wealth of data that sheds light on the scholars' research approaches and use of sources, as well as on the role of information professionals in theater research, and on the interaction between the two groups. The picture that emerges from the study is that of two communities of very dynamic and passionate people, engaged with social and cultural issues. The information professionals are proactive in their work and the scholars conduct interdisciplinary research that leads them to share some information seeking characteristics with scholars in the arts, the humanities, the social sciences, and even the sciences. Theater research, though, stands on its own because of the uniqueness of its object of study and of the process that leads to the creation of sources used. To discuss theater research implies a broader discourse about research in general and this study may therefore be of interest also to people outside the theater field.
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